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The ICC Champions Trophy, initially known as the ICC KnockOut Tournament, has a rich history dating back to 1998. This prestigious cricket competition has evolved over the years, and in 2002, it was rebranded as the Champions Trophy.
The primary objective behind the creation of the Champions Trophy was to raise funds for the development of cricket in non-test playing countries. The first tournaments were hosted in Bangladesh and Kenya, marking the beginning of an exciting journey.
Due to its incredible commercial success, the tournament expanded its horizons, making appearances in cricket-loving nations like India and England. As a revenue generator for the ICC, the tournament's format transitioned to include eight teams. It was often referred to as the mini-World Cup, involving all the full members of the ICC.
Originally conceived as a knockout tournament, it aimed to maintain its brevity without diminishing the significance of the World Cup. However, from 2002, the tournament adopted a round-robin format, followed by knockout games, all condensed into a short two-week period.
The number of participating teams has fluctuated over the years. Initially, all of the ICC's full members took part, and from 2000 to 2004, associate members also joined the fray. Since 2009, the tournament has been exclusively reserved for the top eight teams according to the ICC ODI Rankings six months prior to the event.
Throughout its history, the Champions Trophy has been hosted in seven different countries, with England having the honor of hosting it three times.
In its early years, the Champions Trophy was held every two years, but due to security concerns, it was moved from Pakistan to South Africa in 2009. Since then, it has followed a four-year cycle, aligning with the World Cup schedule.
Over eight editions of the tournament, thirteen teams have participated, with the last edition in 2017 featuring eight teams. It's worth noting that the ICC Champions Trophy was discontinued to streamline the ICC's focus on having one pinnacle tournament for each of the three international cricket formats.
Notable champions of this tournament include Australia and India, both having claimed victory twice. India's 2002 win was shared with Sri Lanka due to two washouts in the final. South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka (shared with India), West Indies, and Pakistan have each secured the title once.
In the lead-up to the 2017 tournament, discussions about starting an ODI League in 2019 raised questions about the future of the Champions Trophy. David Richardson, the ICC CEO, expressed uncertainty regarding the tournament's status due to the potential Test league and an additional World T20 tournament.
In December 2017, the ICC's Future Tours Programme indicated a 2021 edition in India. However, the ICC later confirmed the tournament's discontinuation in April 2018, with the possibility of a T20 World Cup replacing it. The 2021 ICC T20 World Cup was initially slated for India but was moved to the UAE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and no Champions Trophy was contested in 2021.
Nevertheless, as part of the 2021 Future Tour Programme, the ICC has reinstated the Champions Trophy for the 2025 cycle onwards. Cricket enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await this exciting revival of a beloved tournament.